The WFH Diaries - Sarah Palmer at Leo Burnett Australia

By AdNews | 6 May 2020
Sarah Palmer

AdNews brings the stories of those working from home (WFH) in the advertising and media industry during the coronavirus crisis.

Sarah Palmer is head of talent management at Leo Burnett:

How are you dealing with the silence?
Pardon? Silence did you say? …Sorry I can’t hear you over the sound of my children’s online classrooms, partner’s work calls, the neurotic dog who has become even needier, and my next-door neighbours’ renovations. 
The first four weeks of working from home were anything but silent in my home. As expected, the shift to a "virtual agency" took an inordinate amount of organisation and communication. Equally my family was in recalibration-mode, as we set new schedules, boundaries and connection times. 

What’s the upside? 
Purposeful and authentic connections with people. The world has become even smaller as we’ve moved onto more connection platforms. At the beginning of last year we embraced ‘creativity without borders’ at Leos which was about uniting our Sydney and Melbourne agencies more closely to provide creative solutions. It was embraced by both our clients and our people as a more agile way of working. I think this was a critical foundation to lay given where we are now as the connections with people across both our offices are now on steroids.  
Equally the distance with the people who I normally don’t have time to connect with has been replaced with Zoom, Teams, Houseparties, Hangouts, Skypes and Facetimes. And I’ve finally mastered The Renegade dance.

The downside?
Is that despite those connections, I’m really missing seeing all the amazing people I work with, the office banter…and all the LOLs. Our work is immersed in culture and is what I really love about our industry. Sharing what you’ve read, seen, watched, heard, eaten and experienced is a big part of our culture at work and helps to bring different people together. So I am really missing that and just being in the same room with all the super-talented humans I work with.

How are you using the commuting time saved?
I LOVE getting my commute time back. I would normally be in the car for an hour and a half each day travelling to and from the office. I am currently using this time to walk the dog, keep fit, get fresh air and vitamin D and it has impacted how effective I am throughout the rest of the working day.  Definitely feeling the benefits of having a little more me-time back from the commute.

I am looking forward to being back in the office because …
I miss wearing shoes to work. And I’d like for my home to just be my home again…. not my office, my gym and my kids’ schools as well.

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